By Rumbidzai Ngwenya STAFF WRITER ngwenyar@dailynew.co.zw

AUTHORITIES have received a major boost to their fight against the lethal coronavirus, after getting a significant donation of critical medical oxygen for public hospitals.

The donation of 10 tonnes of oxygen by Verify Engineering, a government company, came as the country remains in the vice grip of the Omicron Covid variant.

Speaking in Harare yesterday after receiving the oxygen, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the gas would go a long way in cushioning public hospitals at a time that the country was battling the fourth Covid wave.

“The fact that the Verify Engineering product has a purity level of 99,9 percent is a clear  

testimony that we have a product that meets all the requirements of our health regulations for use on patients in all hospitals.

“I am also informed that Verify Engineering has taken a huge step towards the establishment of depots for the distribution of gas across the country — with those in Harare, Bulawayo, Masvingo, Chiredzi, Gweru and Kwekwe now ready to receive the oxygen.

“This donation is being received at a time when the nation is cursed with a surge in Covid-19 infections,” Mnangagwa said.

“Whilst this presents challenges, we are confident that with the Covid-19 containment measures which my government is instituting, coupled with local production of medical oxygen, we will be able to save more lives now.

“Indeed solutions are birthed in difficult times like we are going through now due to the effects of Covid-19,” he also said.

In addition to being needed to aid seriously-ill Covid-19 patients, medical oxygen also provides a basis for virtually all modern anaesthetic techniques, and to aid resuscitation, provide life support for artificially-ventilated patients and to promote cardio-vascular stability.

It is also used to restore tissue oxygen tension by improving oxygen availability in a wide range of conditions that include shock, severe hemorrhage, carbon monoxide poisoning, major trauma, cardiac and respiratory arrest, as well as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease — a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties.

In the meantime, the government has placed more urgency on the roll-out of booster vaccines — which has seen Mnangagwa, his deputy Constantino Chiwenga and some Cabinet ministers receiving their third jabs.

On Tuesday, staff from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) also received their third shots, amid calls for unvaccinated Zimbabweans to do so urgently, and those who have been vaccinated to get their booster jabs.